Roasted Whole Vidalia Onions with Couscous and Tarka

This recipe is inspired by the multitude of dal in India. It is an elegant dinner perfect for entertaining. Serve it with naan or roti and some sautéed spinach.

Roasted Whole Vidalia Onions with Couscous and Tarka

Preheat over to 400˚

Wash the dal and soak in water for 45 minutes while the onions are simmering. Drain and set aside.

Fill a large pot with 6 cups of vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Add the onions, turn the heat down and let the onions cook for 45 minutes or until they are tender. Check for doneness with a bamboo skewer through the top of the onion. Remove from the liquid and let the onions cool completely. Save the broth for the dal and the couscous filling.

Once cool, remove and discard the outer layer of the onion. Using your finger, gently remove the inner rings of the onion, leaving two or three outer rings intact. Set aside.

Make the dal – Place the inner portion of the onion in a high speed blender and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. In a medium saucepan, add the onion purée, dal, broth and turmeric and stir to combine. Bring to boil over medium heat Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes, stirring often, adding more broth if the mixture dries out to much. Keep warm. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

In a medium saucepan combine 1 cup of the vegetable broth, salt, turmeric, curry, tomato, currants and almonds. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the couscous. Stir well and cover. Let rest for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Fill each onion with the couscous mixture. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes until hot.

Make the tarka – Heat the avocado oil over medium heat in a large skillet and add the cumin seeds. Cook until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the onion and sauté until golden brown and beginning to caramelize. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for another couple of minutes. Add the aji and asafoetida at the end of cooking.

To serve, spoon some of the dal in the center of each plate. Place an onion on the dal and garnish with the tarka, cilantro and chives.

serves 4


  • 4 large Vidalia onions, peeled
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper


  • reserved onions (see above)
  • ½ cup dal, rinsed
  • 1½ cups vegetable broth (reserved from onions)
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • salt and pepper


  • 1 cup vegetable broth (reserved from onions)
  • ½ tsp pink Himalayan sea salt
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric 
  • ½ tsp curry powder
  • 1 large yellow tomato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tbsp currants
  • 1 tbsp slivered almonds, chopped
  • 1 cup whole wheat couscous


  • 2 tbsp avocado oil 
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp ginger, julienned
  • ½ tsp cumin  seeds
  • ½ tsp aji amarillo chili
  • a pinch of asafoetida (optional)


  • minced cilantro leaves
  • cut chives